Sedition in itself is a comprehensive term, and it embraces all those practices, whether by word, deed, or writing, which are calculated to disturb the tranquility of the State, and lead ignorant persons to endeavour to subvert the Government and laws of the country.
Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for sedition. A person convicted of sedition shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine. It is a cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable offense.
The objectives of sedition are:
- to induce discontent and insurrection, and stir up opposition to the Government, and
- to bring the administration of justice into contempt;
and the very tendency of sedition is to incite the people to insurrection and rebellion.
This section requires two essential ingredients:
- Bringing or attempting to bring into hatred or contempt, or exciting or attempting to excite disaffection towards the Government of India.
- Such act or attempt may be done
- By words, either spoken or written; or by signs or by visible representation.
Sedition cannot be used to curb the criticism of the government. Article 19 (1) of the Indian constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression to every citizen of the country but it should not be against the sovereignty and integrity of the nation. Sedition Law can be used as a measure of maintaining public order to create a sense of fear among the anti-national groups and individual.
On one hand sedition law helps in maintaining national integrity and security, creating a sense of fear among the anti-national groups, Balancing freedom of expression with the collective national interest etc. While on the other hand, it has certain drawbacks like- It is often used as a tool to oppress the voice of the people, Party in power uses this as a weapon to curb criticism of the government, neglects the fundamental rights given by the constitution etc.
The Supreme Court on numerous occasions in the past has ruled that raising slogans against the government or criticizing its policies is not sedition. In a 1962 case, the Supreme Court had ruled “citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the government”.
The Supreme Court, in Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar, held that this section is not unconstitutional and opined that only when it is construed that the words, written or spoken, which have the pernicious tendency or intention of creating public disorder or disturbance of law and order. The law steps in to prevent such activities in the interest of public order, then the section strikes the correct balance between individual fundamental rights and the interest of public order. The Court also held that a citizen has a right to say or write whatever he likes about the Government, or its measures, by way of criticism or comment, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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